Skip to main content


Log in

Expression of the anti-apoptotic gene survivin correlates with taxol resistance in human ovarian cancer

  • Published:
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Stable transfection of human ovarian carcinoma cells with survivin cDNA caused a four- to sixfold increase in cell resistance to taxotere and taxol (two-sided Student's t test, p <0.05), with a concomitant reduction in the apoptotic response to taxol, but did not affect cell sensitivity to cisplatin or oxaliplatin. Such findings were indirectly supported by similar observations obtained with clinical tumours. In fact, high levels of survivin protein expression (>30% positive cells), detected by immunohistochemistry in 90/124 (73%) advanced ovarian carcinomas, were significantly associated with clinical resistance to a taxol/platinum-based regimen but unrelated to tumour shrinkage following cisplatin-including combinations (non-taxol based). In the 95 patients receiving a taxol/platinum-based regimen, survivin overexpression correlated with a lower clinical or pathologic complete remission rate than absent/low protein expression (43 vs 75%, p = 0.0058 by logistic regression adjusted for tumour stage, histological grade and p53 expression). Conversely, in the 29 cases treated with cisplatin-containing regimens (not taxol based), survivin expression was unrelated to tumour response. Cellular studies and clinical data suggest a direct link between survivin expression and tumour cell susceptibility to taxol.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Additional information

Received 3 April 2002; received after revision 6 June 2002; accepted 20 June 2002

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Zaffaroni, N., Pennati, M., Colella, G. et al. Expression of the anti-apoptotic gene survivin correlates with taxol resistance in human ovarian cancer. CMLS, Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 59, 1406–1412 (2002).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: